At the beginning of 2011 began the work of the State Council on Human Rights in Chiapas, which is comprised of five advisers. Since the previous year, Juan Sabines Guerrero, governor of the state, had proposed that the state congress replace the State Commission on Human Rights with the State Council on Human Rights, which would function as a public autonomous organization with juridical presence and proper power.
The council will hear cases of human-rights violations that have to do with acts or omissions of administrative nature that originate from whichever authority or public servant, municipal or state, with the exception of those from the state judiciary. The council will also have commissions for the protection of human rights as regards migrants, respect for the culture, customs, and traditions of indigenous communities, and gender equality, and will have the capacity to initiate laws regarding human rights before the state congress.
A new aspect of this all is that the naming of the council must pass through a process of popular consultation as regulated by the Institute of Elections and Citizen Participation, with the goal of having proposals be made by the state congress, universities, NGOs, authorities of use and custom, and the citizenry in general.
Since 6 January 2011 Lorenzo López Méndez took the position of presidency; Pedro Raúl López Hernández in the Commission of Attention to the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; Jesús Ernesto Molina Ramos in the Commission of General Affairs of Human Rights; Mauricio Mendoza Castañeda in the Commission of Attention to the Rights of Migrants; and Marina Patricia Jiménez Ramírez in the Commission of Attention to Rights related to Gender Equality.
Critical voices were heard from Miguel Angel de los Santos, lawyer and professor in the law department of the National Autonomous University of Chiapas (UNACH), published a letter which denounced “the total disregard that has been shown for the law annuls the institution’s moral authority to endorse the law when rights are violated,” thus stressing that the establishment of the new institution did not follow several criteria defined by the state constitution of Chiapas, as in the following:
“I. To be a Chiapan citizen by birth, in full enjoyment of civil and political rights.
III. Have experience in human rights or activities recognized by Mexican law and international law.
VI. Have studied law with a minimum of 5 years of professional experience.
VII. Not to have occupied a charge in municipal, state, or federal public administration at least six months before the moment of designation. Not to have been subject of responsibility derived by recommendation emitted by whichever public organization of human rights as a consequence of the charges taken up as a public servant.'”
Noted: “It is lamentable that an organization by nature questionable for its inefficiency be reborn weak and illegitimate.”
For more information (in Spanish):
Human rights council of Chiapas underway (El Universal, 6 January 2011)
CEDH begins work as organization to protect human rights (Chiapas Hoy, 7 January 2011)
Recently created State Council on Human Rights begins work in Chiapas (La Jornada, 8 January 2011)
Chiapas: establishment of State Council on Human Rights is questioned (Revista Proceso, 13 January 2011)